Giants

EXTRA BAGGS: Vogelsong to start Monday, offense hits wall

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EXTRA BAGGS: Vogelsong to start Monday, offense hits wall

GLENDALE, Ariz. For all the swatting they did early thisspring, the Giants have completely lost their buzz at the plate.

They look worn down, their bats look leaden and they aretrending the wrong way. All of those things are distressing for a team thatranked last in the NL in runs scored a year ago.

But Giants manager Bruce Bochy isnt terribly alarmed. Hesees a bunch of players who have reached the point of the spring where theyjust want to get out of Dodge. And many of them are banged up, too.

Several received the day off to rest and recuperate andwerent part of the ugliness of a 5-2 loss at Camelback Ranch, when White Soxright-hander Philip Humber one-hit them through seven innings.

Pablo Sandoval was among those who got a breather. Hes beendoing extra conditioning work every morning and Bochy theorized that hes beenworn out by the time games start. He hasnt reached the Giants target weight,but hes close and Bochy said its time to let the Panda focus on getting hisswing locked in. His right-handed at-bats, in particular, havent been pretty.He is way out in front of everything.

Brandon Belt also has been grinding hard. He slid on gravela few weeks ago and has remained playable, but sliding hasnt been too muchfun. He aggravated his hip and thigh on another slide Saturday.

Ryan Theriot (ankle) and Emmanuel Burriss (hamstring) alsoremain day-to-day, but both should be OK to play Monday.

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There was a very interesting end to what otherwise was anuneventful exhibition.

The Giants got the tying run to the plate with one out inthe ninth inning, so Bochy called back Conor Gillaspie and sent up catcherHector Sanchez as a pinch hitter. The White Sox had a lefty on the mound andBochy wanted to do more than get a right-handed matchup to try to win the game.

BAGGARLY: StewartWhiteside competition will go down to the wire

He wanted Sanchez to hit right-handed in a clutch spot. Are you readingthose tea leaves? It sure seems like the Giants are warming to the possibilityof carrying the scorching-hot Sanchez as a bat off the bench at least tostart the season.

We wanted to take a look at it with a lefty out there,Bochy said. Its something he hasnt done a lot, Im sure. So its a goodexperience to get him an at-bat there.

The White Sox left-hander was a kid named Hector Santiago, and he wasbringing it. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (and a former Giants beatwriter for the Mercury News, by the way) told me that Santiago has been thetalk of camp.

The Hector-Hector matchup didnt go the Giants way. Sanchezgrounded into a double play to end the game.

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A reminder: Ryan Vogelsong will start Monday and throw 40pitches against the Kansas City Royals at Scottsdale Stadium. Brian Wilson ison the schedule to throw an inning, too.

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Giants GM Brian Sabean made a two-inning guest appearance onKNBR with Dave Flemming the other day. During that stint, Sabean mentioned thatthe club might need another starting pitcher not Vogelsong to take the ballwhen the Giants need a No.5 guy on April 15. So perhaps they are not confidentthat Vogelsong could be sufficiently stretched out in time.

Eric Surkamp would be the logical choice, Id imagine. Butitll depend on how Vogelsong looks as he builds his pitch count.

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I've mentioned right-hander Dan Otero's fabulous, strike-filled spring and how he might be one of the first call-ups when the Giants need another relief arm. Well, Bochy said today that hard-throwing prospect Heath Hembree would begin the season at Triple-A Fresno and serve as the Grizzlies' closer. Otero closed for Fresno last season and would be one heck of a setup man.

That Grizzlies bullpen is going to be darn good.

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Nate Schierholtz needs to catch a hot streak to getmanagement to buy into the idea of committing to him as an everyday player. Hedid not help himself Sunday, when he was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.

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In case Barry Zitos rough outing has you wondering Jonathan Sanchez is not having a good spring, either. In three starts for theRoyals, he has a 9.72 ERA. Here are the rest of his numbers: 8.1 innings, 13hits, 11 runs, nine earned runs, five walks, eight strikeouts, a .351opponents average and a 2.16 WHIP.

BAGGARLY: ChiSox hammer Zito, but rotation spot is safe

Given how Melky Cabrera looks this spring, the Giants' trade could turn out to be baseball's best deal of the offseason.

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Right-hander Scott Munter, who is up from minor league camp, replacedZito in the third inning and was charged with cleaning up the mess. But the big Nebraskan with the bowling ball sinkeronly faced one batter. He strained his calf while jumping off the mound tocover first base. Its been a long road back for Munter, who established himself as a bullpenmainstay in 2005 but had an elbow scope after that season and hasn't been the same. He hasnt pitched in the big leagues since 07. Hopefully forhim this calf injury isnt a major setback.

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I didnt follow enough college basketball to feel good aboutfilling out an informed bracket. The only games I watched involved my almamater, Northwestern. So I decided my only chance in the NCAA pool would be to go rogue. I had Baylor winning it all, using the RBTSOON method (really beatthe snot out of Northwestern).

Now Im wishing Northwestern had played Kentucky thisseason.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

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AP

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

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AP

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."